(Katie J. Read, Liberty Headlines) When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a pro-Israel Bill
on the nation’s Day of Independence at the Jewish Community Center in Austin, Texas, he signaled the state’s strong support of its ally.
Greg Abbott Photo by Gage Skidmore
Abbott signed House Bill 89 into law Tuesday, an act that forbids state institutions from engaging with any entities that take part in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which originated with Palestinian leaders over a decade ago to apply economic pressure to Israel, in an effort to force its withdrawal from “occupied” territories.
Abbott’s ratification came after the bill passed through the state House uncontested, 131-to-0.
“I am proud to have commemorated Israel’s Independence Day by signing into law anti-BDS legislation in Texas,” Abbott said in a press release. “As Israel’s number one trading partner in the United States, Texas is proud to reaffirm its support for the people of Israel and we will continue to build on our historic partnership.”
The press release specified that, because of the new law, public funds will not be directed toward any group participating with the BDS movement.
“Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally,” Abbott said.
According to the website for the BDS movement, the campaign exists to advocate for the human rights of Palestinian citizens encroached upon by Israel.
“Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality,” the Web site says. “BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”
Texas is the eighteenth state to enforce any anti-BDS legislation. According to Palestine Legal, other states with similar laws are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.
As recently as 2016, legislators attempted to sign anti-BDS bills into law in Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Virginia, and Washington state, but pro-BDS activists prohibited the bills from passing. Activists attempted the same feat in New York in 2016, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed an executive order blacklisting the anti-BDS laws.
“New York stands in solidarity with Israel today and always,” Cuomo said in a press release after signing the order in 2016. “This state will not stand for the politics of discrimination in any form, and we will continue to demonstrate our unwavering support for the people of Israel in the fight for freedom, liberty and democracy. I’m proud to sign this nation’s leading executive order, which will help protect Israel from the threat of divestment.”
Anti-BDS legislation is currently pending in Minnesota and Massachusetts.